Monday, November 30, 2009

Channel 8's Newest Mid-Day Anchor



Introducing Channel 8's newest mid-day news anchor, Lloyd Andrews.  Born and raised on a dairy farm in Fremont, Nebraska, Lloyd grew up with a dream of one day anchoring the CBS Evening News, and he is now one step closer to fulfilling that dream.


A graduate of Hofstadter University's communications department, Lloyd has always had a passion for seeking the truth.  As a youngster, the citizens of Fremont came to know Lloyd as the youngest editor of the Fremont County Harold-Gazette, as well as the winner of the Tri-County Fair's Photo Essay Journalist of the Year three years running (1995-97).


Mr. Andrews is husband to beauty salon owner Angela and father to daughter Helen, age 10, and twin sons Sheldon and Lester, age 7.  The family also owns two dogs, a cat, and a turtle, as well as a small herd of alpacas on the family farm.


Lloyd and his family are very active in the community.  Lloyd sits on the board of directors for the Cedar Creek Golf & Shooting Club.  His family is also active with the local 4-H club and with their church.  Lloyd was also a member of the school board, before term limits forced him to step down.


Lloyd Andrews is also a founding member of Team Morthern Colorado during the month of Movember.  This year, his team raised over $600 and had over 25 members growing Mo's.  MoBro Eric Lundy lead the team with over $250 raised.  (Any last minute donations are of course accepted by going HERE).

Team Morthern Colorado would like to thank our family and friends for their support during this event.  Our goal is to change the face of men's health, and I truly believe we did.


Stay classy Morthern Colorado.  Stay classy.

UPDATE:  Team Morthern Colorado has now raised $666.  If anyone would care to donate a buck, we'd sure appreciate it.  We'd hate to end Movember on such an "unlucky" number.  Thanks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving around the web

Frank J. details what he is thankful for in his latest column for Pajamas Media.

Ann Althouse has a Thanksgiving Reflection.

Kenneth Anderson ponders "what makes the connection to place different here (the United States) than in Europe" over at The Volokh Conspiracy.

Also at The Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin links to a story by Benjamin Powell titled "The Pilgrims' Real Thanksgiving Lesson", where Mr. Powell suggests (quite correctly in my opinion) that "the economic incentives provided by private competitive markets where people are left free to make their own choices make bountiful feasts possible."  To prove his point, he uses the history of the Pilgrims, and suggests that "bad weather or lack of farming knowledge did not cause the pilgrims’ shortages. Bad economic incentives did."  He continues:
In 1620 Plymouth Plantation was founded with a system of communal property rights. Food and supplies were held in common and then distributed based on equality and need as determined by Plantation officials. People received the same rations whether or not they contributed to producing the food, and residents were forbidden from producing their own food. Governor William Bradford, in his 1647 history, Of Plymouth Plantation, wrote that this system was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. The problem was that young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. Because of the poor incentives, little food was produced.
Faced with potential starvation in the spring of 1623, the colony decided to implement a new economic system. Every family was assigned a private parcel of land. They could then keep all they grew for themselves, but now they alone were responsible for feeding themselves. While not a complete private property system, the move away from communal ownership had dramatic results.
This change, Bradford wrote, had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. Giving people economic incentives changed their behavior. Once the new system of property rights was in place, the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability.
Once the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Plantation abandoned their communal economic system and adopted one with greater individual property rights, they never again faced the starvation and food shortages of the first three years. It was only after allowing greater property rights that they could feast without worrying that famine was just around the corner.

TaxProf Blog has a roundup of what Tax Profs are thankful for around the country.

Steve Rosenbaum wishes everyone a Happy Digital Thanksgiving.

Megan McArdle reminds us of the Thanksgiving Proclamation given by President Lincoln.

And, finally, Gawker has video of a Roving Gang of Wild Turkeys who steal a little boy's bike.
(I couldn't get the video to embed, so you'll have to go to the link to watch).

Day of Thanks

On this day of Thanksgiving, I have so much for which to be thankful, so here are some of them, in list form, in no particular order:

  • I am thankful for my beautiful wife.  She has been busting her ass for the past year and a half in law school and I couldn't be more proud.  This semester she has been working part-time at a law firm and going to school with a full-time schedule.  I can't wait to show her off at my 10 year high school reunion!!!
  •  I am thankful for my dog Brodie, for always keeping me in the moment, because when I'm not in the moment, I might miss his awesomeness.  Like this morning, while playing fetch, he saw a prairie-dog hill, so he struts over, lifts his leg, and marks it as his territory.  I'm not certain that dogs possess emotions other than excitement and fear, but today, I'm certain, he had a look of pride on his face at a job well done.
  • I am thankful that my sister stayedwith us this summer.  It was great having family out in Omaha and she pulled us out of our cocoon of comfort because the wife and I don't mind being boring, but we can't have my little sister thinking we're boring.  We went to concerts, tried different restaurants, went to baseball games, and took the dog to the lake and state park.  It was also awesome that our being in Omaha allowed the Sis to work at a very fine contemporary art studio as an intern.  
  • I am thankful to have a great political sparing partner in my brother-in-law.  At his blog, he has started putting out policy proposals, which I challenge him over, but I feel the need to make my own counter proposals so as to not just be the grumpy, anti-government curmudgeon sitting on the sidelines throwing stones.  I need to actively defend and explain my beliefs. 
  • I am thankful that we were able to move to a better part of town and live in a modern home.  This summer the wife and I moved from our Mid-Town duplex to a home in west Omaha.  The neighborhood is much, much nicer, and the house is not drafty and old.  It also has a half-basement which is the perfect place for the pup to hang out while we are at work.
  • I am thankful for technology.  This past year, I joined Facebook and Twitter, and started blogging.  I doubt that I ever would have done this had we not moved away from home.  These online places allow me to be connected with my family and friends no matter where we are.  I have also reconnected with some old friends, which never would have happened had these sites not existed.
  • I am thankful to have experienced one of the greatest golfing years ever.  I got to play weekly at an amazing course for free.  I played in three tourneys.  I created my perfect bag of clubs.  My golf goal is to work my handicap down to under 10 next year.  I also want to play as many different courses in the area before we leave.
  • I am thankful that our basement is so awesome.  Half of the basement is our two-car garage.  The other half is a family room.  I have a place for my drum set and the wife has a place for her treadmill.    But what makes this room the great room, is that it is the perfect set up for a home theater.  We bought a digital widescreen projector, which throws nearly 100 inches of picture onto our wall.  We also have our surround sound system set up, which provides the most amazing home movie experience we've ever experienced.  This has also lead me to start playing my PS2 football games again, which has been nice now that the weather and shorter days have limited my golfing.
  • I am thankful for my awesome parents and in-laws.  The wife and I would definitely not be where we are today without their support and guidance.  I can't wait to see them this Christmas.
  • I'm thankful for all the visitors the wife and I have had this year.  We've had my sisters, parents, in-laws, wife's cousins, my cousins, and my wife's lifelong friend all come to visit.  I has been fun trying to find new ways to entertain our guests.  It has lead us to find countless new restaurants, which we've enjoyed.  
  • I am thankful that I got to see the Dave Matthews Band in Des Moines with my cousins, and that I saw Mat Kearney with both of my sisters, and OAR w/ Brett Dennen, and The Script with my sister who stayed with us this summer.  It was a great year for concerts and for music.   
  • I am thankful for five years of marriage to an amazing woman.  To celebrate this milestone, my wife and I went on our first cruise.  Also, my mom and dad had their 30th wedding anniversary, and my wife's mom and step-dad were celebrating their 5th anniversary, so we made it a family event and all 6 of us went cruising.  Our trip took us to San Diego, Catalina Island, and down into Baja, Mexico.  We had a great time.  The wife and I also made a trip out to Colorado over Labor Day weekend where we and my siblings suprised my parents with a weekend in Estes Park to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.  It was a great year for marriages.
  • I'm thankful that I was fortunate enough to be able to watch one of my high school classmates, Luke Hochevar, compete in professional baseball this past season.  He started the season with the Triple-A Omaha Royals.  It was such a treat to be able to head down to the ball field and watch him compete at a high level.  And no one tries harder to get you to have a fun time than a minor league ball club.  $1 beer nights and $1 hotdog nights were my favorite.  When Luke got called up to the big league, I was able to go to five of his Kansas City Royals games and watch him pitch against the best of the best.  Also, sports related, I am unthankful for the thunderstorms that ruined the one drag racing event I was able to go to this year to watch my cousin race. 
  • I am thankful that my mother-in-law loves me so much that she would pack four Pass Key Specials in her carry-on luggage when they came to visit us.
  • I am thankful that I have been able to raise $226 for prostate and testicular cancer research during Movember, and that my team has raised over $500.
  • I am thankful that I have a stable job and a steady paycheck and get to work with some really great people.
You get the idea.  I know I'm forgetting countless things I am thankful for, which shows me how blessed I really am, and for that I am thankful. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Greatest. Video. Ever.

I couldn't have said it more cynically myself.



I sure do love the people at Reason.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Movember -- Week 3



As the month of MOvember is winding down, I'm starting to get used to the eyebrows that have grown underneath my nose.  One more week left and then it's back to being a baby-faced 28 year-old without any peach fuzz.  I plan to dye it really, REALLY dark for the last picture.  And then I'll have some fun shaving it into different styles (and by different styles, I mean the one other style that I could possibly make with what little hair I have).

So far I have raised $195.00 toward prostate and testicular cancer research, which is nearly double what my personal goal was.  If anyone would care to put me over the $200.00 mark, please feel free.  Just go to this link (Eric's Movember Donation Page) and donate away.

Team Morthern Colorado has raised $470.00, which is awesome.  I am so lucky to be blessed with such generous friends and family.

Thanks again for your continued support and tune in next week for the final pictures of Movember 2009.

Now I'm convinced

Al Gore made a cameo on one skit and had a sit down with Seth Myers on Weekend Update on SNL last night.  The guy is fairly funny, but most politicians are.  And, most of them get some great writers when they are on the show because they are playing to a mostly sympathetic audience.

During weekend update, Al had some good lines (the popular vote being the only one that he pays attention to, for example) and took a couple of funny shots at NBC.  But, his bit on his needing to start acting crazy so that politicians can understand how dire global warming climate change the climate crisis is was not very well written, nor was it funny.

I kind of feel sorry for the guy.  He worked really hard to drum up enough fear of global warming climate change the climate crisis, and along the way won an Oscar and  Nobel Peace Prize (?!?!).  He even has a congress and president who are sympathetic to his cause.  And still, not enough government interference into the day to day lives of US citizens is occurring for his liking.  Well, it is occurring (think bailouts and health care), just not in his chosen field.  So he's relegated to peddling his newest book on a late night comedy show.

Here is his segment on SNL last night.  I'd give him a B+ for his delivery, and an F- for the material.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Daily Dish Hiatus

That's it.  I can't take it any more.  I am not going to read Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish for the rest of November.  I need a break from his "Palin Derangement Syndrome".  I count 17 "Palin" posts on his front page, and that number is down, as he's slowly moved on to other topics over the past few days (but it's been too slowly for my taste).

His "PDS" was so severe the day the Palin book came out, her magical powers fried his brain so much that he only posted twice (to inform the readers of the reason for his absence), when he usually posts 20-30 times a day.

Once McCain selected Palin as his running mate over a year ago, Sully set his sights on her (I don't have the strength to look it up, but I'm pretty sure he'd thrown his support behind Obama at that point in the campaign).  His Palin-centric blog posts had dwindled considerably since Inauguration Day, as he'd put most of his effort toward defending Obama, his administration, and his policies.  But once word got around that Palin had a book coming out, he turned his sights back to her.

His is one of the blogs I check out daily (along with Instapundit and Hit&Run) to get an idea of what's happening in the world.  What keeps me coming back is his passion for the topics he blogs about.  And I enjoy that most days, his blog posts are on a variety of subjects, from politics, to current events, to culture and society.  This summer, he was on the top of his game covering the Iran elections and all the drama that followed.  When he focuses his attention toward furthering a debate/conversation/topic/event in a positive way (the Iranian elections, marijuana, The War on Terror, etc.) he is one of the best in the country.  But when he gets into battling or defending a "persona", he's unbearable.

Whether it is his fawning over Obama or attempting to destroy Palin, he can't pull himself away from certain topics.  And I'm not the only one who's noticed his Palin Derangement Syndrome (here or here or here to name a few-- and FYI, the last link is a bit salty with the language).  It's gotten to the point that anytime I see the word "Palin" on his blog, I just scroll on past.

It reminds me of when I was in high school football.  We had two coaches, who had the "good cop/bad cop" routine down to an art form.  The defensive coordinator was the in-you-face, spit-flying-out-his-mouth, call-you-every-name-in-the-book "bad cop" coach.  His job (or so he thought) was to break the team down.  During half-time of games, he was known to throw anything in his path (chairs, chalk, helmets, etc.).  And as a freshman, the routine worked perfectly.  We were all scared shitless when he was in one of his foul moods.

The head coach, and offensive coordinator, was the X's and O's guy.  After Angry Coach had finished cursing us out and telling what worthless piles of crap we were, Head Coach would step up to the chalk board and would show us how we were going to improve our strategy and execution the next half of the game.  Head Coach was the steady tactician "ying" to Angry Coach's emotional train wreck "yang".

And after 4 years, everyone on the team had it figured out.  At halftime, you weathered Angry Coach's storm because you knew that after the storm would be an explanation on how and why we could win the game.  By senior year, people found it comical to get a chewing out from Angry Coach because he had set the yelling bar so high, he could never go higher.  We became immune to it.  It was just loud noises with no power.

On the other hand, Head Coach had set the bar at a reasonable height and we all came to expect him to be the calm, rational leader of the team.  So if and when he bumped it up a notch, you paid attention because he meant business.

Well, Andrew, sir, you are becoming Angry Coach.  You're Palin-overload is causing me to hear only static coming from you.  You've lost much of your rhetorical power in my mind by slogging around in the mud over a personality.  Rather than focusing your attention on the people with the power to make and shape policy in this country, you're analyzing every step made by a person who's only power is the power over your attention.  It's sad really.

So, I'm taking a bit of a break from the Daily Dish to allow Andrew to track down all of Palin's lies and disceats and falsehoods once and for all.  I want him to fully finish deconstructing Palins book.  Then I want him to track down all the ractions to Palin's book.  Then I want him to compare and contrast and post reader emails.  Then, after he has said all that needs to be said about Sarah Palin, he can get back to, as he likes to say, the constant struggle to see what is in front of one's nose.

Government Rationed Health Care

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words:


(picture link)

And if you prefer a thousand words, Ann Althouse has a marvelous post about the recent proposals out of Washington to move the start date for pap smears and mammograms to a later age. 

Forget the medical treatments. Forget even the pain pills.

We'll save even more money if we just get these women who are bitching about pain to hold their boyfriend's hand or look at a picture of their kid.
The ideas for savings to the health care system are endless! We know already, of course, about the great new idea of not looking so closely at those breasts. What we don't know won't cause us anxiety, and if cancer should come, the later we discover it the better, because there is nothing like death to stop us from running to the doctor for every little thing.

And those silly Pap tests that had us thinking we needed a pelvic exam every year?The official word has come that you don't need that testing so early or so often.
Young women are especially prone to develop abnormalities in the cervix that appear to be precancerous, but that will go away if left alone. But when Pap tests find the growths, doctors often remove them, with procedures that can injure the cervix and lead to problems later when a woman becomes pregnant, including premature birth and an increased risk of needing a Caesarean.
And talk about expensive! Premature births and Caesarean sections? Wouldn't it be so much nicer for everyone if women would man up and give the old vagina a go? And if the baby dies? Think of how many trips to the pediatrician will be avoided. Why spend so much on preemies anyway? Surely, the new guidelines on extra-tiny humans will yield nice savings.
 She closes with this:
Come on, be honest. Don't you want the federal government to have a complete overview of health care? The potential rationality is stunning. And one thing in this emerging rationality is clear: Although women tend to love the notion of government control more than men do, it is women who will be told they'll have to cut back. On treatments. And years. You know we've been taking more than our share.
 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Golf in Omaha


This past weekend, I played in a 2-man scramble  at Pacific Springs Golf Course with one of my co-workers.  While the weather was chilly and overcast, it wasn't too terrible concidering we were golfing in Nebraska in the middle of November.

It was a shot-gun start tourney, with our first hole being a short par-4, hole number 7.  With the first swing of the day (the course doesn't have a driving range), I belted a good drive down the middle of the fairway.  Come to find out, I drove the green.  We had a nice, but long, eagle putt which both of us missed.  We kicked in the birdie putt and started out the day one under par.

We parred the next hole, a par three, and then birdied hole number 9, a par 5, when I stuck our approach shot to 15 feet and made the putt.  We were 2 under par after three holes.

We proceed to string together 11 pars and 2 bogies in the next 14 holes, putting us even par through 16 holes.  At the long par 3 5th hole, I struck a nice 7 iron to within 20 feet of the pin.  My playing partner sank the putt, putting us back under par.

Our finishing hole was a par-5.  I hit a nice drive just off the fairway.  We both duffed our 2nd shot, and we were 100 yards out on our approach.  I scooped my lob wedge short of the green and my partner pushed his approach left of the green.  After our fourth shot, we settled over a 20 foot par putt, which I sank to keep us under par.

Now this is where the golf gods showed us their evil, ironic sense of humor.  The winning group in the first flight shot 6 under par, with second and third place tying with scores of 5 under par.  The second flight winners tied for first, second, and third place with scores of even par (with the victor being decided by a scorecard playoff).  Had my partner missed the birdie putt, or had I missed the par save on the last two holes, we would have at worst been third place in the second flight.  Instead, our heroic putts on the last two holes made us good enough to be in the first flight, but in dead last place.  If we would have played a stroke worse, we would have won money.  Instead, we got to go home with the knowledge that we played the best we could have that day. 

Bummer.

But, I have to admit that this has been one of the greatest years in my golf life.  I played in three tournaments, two of which were scrambles, and the other was an individual stroke play format.  I worked my handicap down to a 12.8, which is the lowest its been for years.  I golfed at least once every week from April through November, and most of the rounds I played were free.  All in all, I couldn't be a happier golfer, and I can't wait to dust off the clubs next spring.

And here is a breakdown of the golf scene in and around Omaha (including the price I paid, to the best of my memory) which I started a few weeks ago, but never got around to finishing:

Quarry Oaks, Ashland, NE, Public ($55, twilight rate)
Ranked number 55 on the list of top 100 public courses in the U.S. (and number 7 on the most reasonably priced public courses) according to Golf Digest, this course does not disappoint.  While the back-nine was a bit blurry (thanks to my cousin Miah and a case of brewskies), this course is in the top 5 courses I've played.  This tree-lined course wanders along the Platte River.  It contains many elevation changes and every fairway and green is unique and challenging.
(5 STARS)

Champions Run, Omaha, NE, Private (free)
The home to the only professional golf tournament in Nebraska, the Cox Classic, this course is a classic risk/reward course.  There are a handful of reachable par 4's, and all of the par 5's are reachable in two, so long as you can find the fairway from the tee box.  The greens and fairways are impeccably cared for and it was almost a pleasure to play from the sandtraps.
What made this course even more amazing was the fact that I played it every Monday this spring and summer, FOR FREE!!!  One of my co-worker's cousins is on the grounds crew and every Monday, the grounds crew is allowed to play the course.  It was an amazing opportunity that I was more than happy to take advantage. 
(5 STARS)

Pacific Springs, Omaha, Public, ($35)
Excellent layout in central western Omaha.  When I first started my current job, one of my days off was Mondays, and I enjoyed getting to the course for the first tee time of the day and taking in this fine course before any of the other hackers got a chance.
(4 STARS)

Tregaron, Bellevue, NE, Public, ($25-30)
While the front side of this course is fairly benign (I played the front side twice in a row one evening this summer and was only 7 strokes over par), the back side of the course may be my favorite consecutive 9 holes in town.
(4 STARS)

Eagle Hills, Papillion, NE, Public, ($20)
This spring, I played this course at least once a week after they sent our office a booklet of "Buy One, Get One Free" coupons.  Similar to Tregaron, this course's front side meanders through a housing development and doesn't have much character.  The back side, however, is much more challenging and full of character.  I also love that this course has large GPS screens attached to the golf carts, which I believe helps with the speed of play (so long as they haven't over booked, which happens often here on weekends, but you take the good with the bad).
(4 STARS)


Dodge Riverside, Council Bluffs, IA, public ($30)
This course is beside Harrah's Casino in Council Bluffs, across the Missouri River from Omaha.  This course is fairly flat, but is a nice place to play.  It is a classic "city park" layout, with trees seperating the fairways from each other.
(3.5 STARS)

Shoreline, Carter Lake, IA, public ($25-30)
This course was the first course I played when we got out to Omaha, so it has a special place in my golf heart.  I also like this course a lot because it was the first course in which I shot par for 9-holes.  Even though this course isn't too difficult and is fairly short, the greens can be quite tricky.  However, it does appear to be the perfect course for a 3 or 4 person scramble, so hopefully I'll be able to wrangle up a team to take it on.
(3.5 STARS)

Stone Creek, Omaha, NE, public, ($30)
A nice 27-hole course that I played after they sent me a discount coupon.  It had well placed bunkers, which I found often on the front side of the 18-holes I played.  It is a very open course, with few trees, and receptive greens.  This is the type of course that I play well on, but not worth much more than the $30 I paid with an end of the season coupon.
(3.0 STARS)

Tiburon, Gretna, NE, public ($40)
This is a decent course.  It has 27-holes, which means allows for a different look each time it is played.  Each of the 9-holes has one or two tricky holes, but the rest of the holes are fairly plain.
(3.5 STARS)

Platteview, Bellevue, NE, Private ($110 for a two-day tournament)
This was the course I played a tournament at this summer.  The course was built in the 1960s, so it is fairly short compared to modern courses.  But what it lacks in length, it makes up in trees.  This course was challenging, and did not set up well for my game.
(3 STARS)
 

OTHERS:
Tara Hills-- The sister course to Eagle hills, this course is older and not nearly as difficult.  (2.5 STARS)

The Knolls-- An average course in the middle of a housing development.  Nothing too spectacular, but they usually have decent rates that keep me coming back.  (2.5 STARS)

Benson-- this course is near my house, but I've only played it once because they're a bit pricey.

Bonus points to anyone who has read this far.  You are a true golf fan, or really bored at work.  Either way, thanks.

Warren Swigart -- ($10 for 9-holes)  This par-3 course is just a hop, skip, and a jump from our house, and I've enjoyed taking the wife to this course, which she's enjoyed greatly.  It is a nice little executive course, with decent greens, and a nice price tag.

COURSES ON MY "PLAY BEFORE WE LEAVE" LIST
Bent Tree Golf Club, Council Bluffs IA, semi-public -- I've heard good things about this links-style course.

Shadow Valley Golf Course, Woodbine, IA, public, 9-hole. -- Looks like an interesting course in an hour away from Omaha.  

Shadow Ridge Country Club, Omaha, NE, private--just need to find someone who's a member.

Happy Hallow Club, Omaha, NE, private -- just need to find someone who's a member.

Ironwood Golf and Country Club, Omaha, NE, private -- just need to find someone who's a member.

Woodland Hills Golf Club, Eagle, NE -- apparently received high praise from "Golf Digest" in the late 1990s.  I'm going to have to play this one while they have cheep winter rates.

The Club at Indian Creek, Omaha, NE, public-- another of the 27-hole monsters in western Omaha.  I'm going to try to get out there while they have winter rates.

Arbor Links Golf Course, Nebraska City, NE, private -- An Arnold Palmer designed course that looks amazing.  

Wild Horse Golf Club, Gothenburg, NE, public -- This course was the host of the regional finals when I was in Junior College and it was love at first sight.  It was the first course I ever played that had no trees or water hazards, and it was one of the most challenging.  The fairways were wide, and the rough was really tough (hip high prairie grass).  Gothenburg is located on the plains of central Nebraska about 3 hours from Omaha, and I am going to play it again before we leave.

So if you know of anyone who is a member of these private courses, give them my name and let them know I'm always available to fill out a foursome.  And I'm begining to think that Omaha is the perfect place for future weekend golf escapes after we move back to Colorado, especially with the casinos across the river in Council Bluffs, IA, providing evening entertainment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Movember -- Week 2 update

My Mo at the end of Week 2 of the Movember celebration.


 (Now with 40% more "creepy".)

I would also like to put my "Mo" in perspective.

I am 28 years old.  My dad's mustache is equally as old as I am, if not older.  (The details are still a little bit sketchy on the birth date of his mustache.  If only the Hawaiian authorities would release the birth certificate, this could all be cleared up.)

So, 28 years ago, my dad was 27 years old.  Here is a picture of us back in the day, and I would like you to notice the density, thickness, and fullness of his 'stache. 


These are the genes I'm working with people.  We Lundy's are not known for our ample lip hairs.  So you get what you pay for. 

Movember Fund Raising Update:

So far I have received $195.00 in donations.  I can't thank everyone who donated enough for your kindness and generosity.  Team Morthern Colorado has received $375.00 in donations.

If you would care to donate toward our team, with all proceeds going toward prostate and testicular cancer research, please go to my donations page  http://us.movember.com/mospace/138927

As the Democrats like to say, "Vote early, vote often."  But in this case, "donate early, donate often."

Thanks to everyone for their support.  And have a Happy Movember!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Top 10 List

Here are my favorite bands/artists (and my favorite song(s) they perform) separated into genres.

ROCK (Top 20- as it is my favorite genre)
Van Halen -- 1) Right Now 2) Finish What Ya Started 3) Love Walks In 4) 5150 5)Best of Both Worlds
AC/DC -- Thunderstruck
The Beatles -- Drive My Car
Aerosmith -- Sweet Emotion
Led Zepplin -- Ramble On
Pink Floyd -- Wish You Were Here
CCR -- Fortunate Son
Def Leppard -- Armageddon It
Lynyrd Skynyrd -- Free Bird
ZZ Top -- La Grange
Rolling Stones -- Honkey Tonk Woman
Journey -- Faithfully
Beach Boys -- God Only Knows
Queen -- Fat Bottomed Girls
Steve Miller Band -- The Joker
Jimi Hendrix -- The Wind Cries Mary
The Eagles -- Hotel California
Elton John -- Your Song
U2 -- Sweetest Thing
The Band -- The Weight

Modern/Alternative Rock
Dave Matthews Band -- 1) Crush 2) Rapunzel 3) Grey Street 4) All Along the Watchtower 5) You & Me
O.A.R. -- Crazy Game of Poker
Foo Fighters -- My Hero
Matchbox 20 -- Damn
Creed -- One
Mat Kearney -- Undeniable
Hootie & the Blowfish -- Let Her Cry
John Mayer/John Mayer Trio -- Who Did You Think I Was?
Jason Mraz -- Live High
Limp Bizkit -- Break Stuff

COUNTRY
Carrie Underwood -- 1) So Small 2) Last Name 3) Starts with Goodbye 4)I Just Can't Live a Lie 5) Play On
Garth Brooks -- Rodeo
Chris Ledoux -- Copenhagen
Johnny Cash -- Get Rhythm
George Straight -- The Chair
Reba McEntire  -- Fancy
Alan Jackson -- I Don't Even Know Your Name
Kenny Rogers -- The Gambler
Toby Keith -- Getcha Some
Hank Williams, Jr. -- Family Tradition

POP
Kelly Clarkson - 1)Walk Away 2)Breakaway 3)Already Gone 4)The Trouble w/ Love 5)Behind Hazel Eyes 
Justin Timberlake -- Chop Me Up
Pink -- Sober
Kenny Loggins -- I'm Alright
Whitney Houston -- I Wanna Dance with Somebody
Adelle -- Hometown Glory
Beyonce -- Crazy In Love
Micheal Jackson -- Billie Jean
Maria Carey -- Always Be My Baby
Leona Lewis -- I Will Be

Rap/Hip-Hop
Eminem -- 1) Lose Yourself 2) My Band 3) Stan 4) Sing for the Moment 5) My Name Is
Dr. Dre -- Forgot about Dre
50 Cent -- In Da Club
Jay-Z -- I Just Wanna Luv U
Notorious B.I.G. -- Mo Money Mo Problems
Puff Daddy -- It's All About the Benjamins
Nelly -- Country Grammar
LL Cool J -- Mama Said Knock You Out
Mary J. Blige -- Family Afair
Flo Rida -- Low

COMEDIANS
Jim Gaffigan -- 1) Bacon 2) Bed 3) Hot Pockets 4) Bowling 5) Camping 
Brian Regan -- Stupid in School
Daniel Tosh -- I Heart Dave
Jon Heffron -- Performance Review
Bill Engval -- I Love Golf
Louis CK -- I Enjoy Being White
Mike Birbiglia -- Whatever You Are, Be a Goodone
Bill Cosby -- Noah
Christian Finnegan -- Purple Shorts

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quick Hits

Some thoughts on the CMAs (from what I saw as I missed some of it):
  • There are some very sexy women in country music--Carrie, Reba, Martina, the woman from Lady Antebellum whose name I don't know, Faith, Taylor, Miranda Lambert, Joey, the women from Little Big Town, Lee Ann Womack
  • I LOVE DARIUS RUCKER!
  • Brooks and Dunn still have it, as does George.
  • ZZ Top is one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time, but the fellas really need to retire. 
  • I don't get Sugarland.  Jennifer Nettles has a lousy voice and (as you can tell from the above list) is not very attractive.  
  • I don't like the song that Tim McGraw sang.  It just isn't a good song.
  • Martina and George's tribute to Barbara Mandrell was excellent.  As was Reba's performance.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed Jamie Johnson and Kid Rock's performance.  
  • I've never liked Kenny Chesney.  And Dave Matthews, as much as I love him, is too odd to be let into public without the rest of his band.  And what was with Dave's late entrance.  I was a horrible performance with which to end the show. 
  • Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood did a great job of hosting.  And their jabs at Kanye were great.  Not mean spirited, but funny and to the point (that the guy is a jackass).
  • Taylor Swift epitomizes everything that is good about country music.  She's attractive, but more than that, she is extremely talented, writes her own music, plays her own music, and is a very talented entertainer.  If you did not see her on SNL last weekend, go to Hulu.com and watch it.  She did great.
"Parks and Recreation" has been consistantly funny this season.  I would say it is my second favorite show on network television this season, behind "Modern Family".  Aziz Ansari is hilarious.  Everything he says on that show slays me.

This season of "The Office" has disappointed me.  The Jim/Pam/Micheal storylines have been weak and uncharacteristicly unfunny.  Dwight and Andy have carried the show, and Creed is always good for one great line (tonight, when he pulled up in his car late and was told by Micheal that there had been a murder and he was a lead suspect, and he hightailed it out of the office was briliant).  I hope they work back to their wheel-house and finish the fall portion of the season strong.  Although the company turmoil might not let that happen.

"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" continues to impress me.  They haven't lost their edge and the past two episodes that I've wached, "Wrestling for the Troops" and "Kitten Mittens", were top notch.

Carrie Underwood's new album, "Play On", has been a bit of a disappoint ment to me.  The first time I listened to it, I only liked two, maybe three, of the songs.  It has grown on me as I've given it a few more listens, but I would say it has been her weakest album to date.

I've decided to have some fun with the latest Facebook meme, people post what things for which they are thankful.  Most of them have been cookie cutter cliches, like being thankful for family and friends, good health, and their jobs (who isn't thankful for these?).  I've gone outside the box and posted unique things about which I'm thankful.  Here are some examples:
  • is thankful that I can turn off the salary cap on Madden'08 and light up fools in franchise mode.  
  • is thankful for the past, present, and future members of the armed forces for protecting my many freedoms, which include, but are not limited to: hippie punching, warming the globe, eating meat, golfing, and being a greedy, money-grubbing capitalist. 
  • is thankful for the McRib sandwich.
    • The "McRib" update got a "like" from one of my personal blog heros, Jason Mulgrew.  And I couldn't be prouder.
 I hope to continue this trend, and maybe some other people might step outside their comfort zones and will join me in celebrating the little things in life.

My brother-in-law has started a blog, 23rd and Downing, and has been posting about some interesting topics.  He is one of the smartest, most well-read people I know and I look forward to more of his insightful posts about his life as an imigration attorney in Denver.

I have greatly enjoyed this "Indian Summer" we've been experienceing in the Mid-West, and have taken full advantage of the mild weather with two rounds of golf (and a 2-man scramble tourney lined up this weekend) and a trip out to Schramm State Park with the wife and dog.  Here are the wife and dog enjoying the perks of fall.


Now, if I can get Brodie to learn how to use the camera, I could be in more pictures with my wife.


Happy Movember!


UPDATE:  Allow me to clarify a bit with regard to country music, since it won't allow me to paste this into the comments section.

@ Friar Tuck -- Of the 4 songs I have on my iPod by Taylor Swift (Picture to Burn, Tim McGraw, Teardrops on my Guitar, Our Song), none of them can rationally be considered bubble gum pop. 

I would say that Taylor is not the Britney, but rather the Tiger Woods.  While I don't love all of her songs, she is good for the country music industry.  She's shaking up the establishment.  She's a big hitter that has won many awards early in her career, and I'd bet she has staying power.  The old timers are always going to resent the youngsters and how they are taking their industry/sport that they built in a different direction than they would prefer.

But look at how Tiger grew the game of golf, made it into a multi-billion dollar industry, and increased it's popularity tremendously.  Mickelson, DiMarco, Duval, and Els were never going to grow the game like Tiger's been able to do.  Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, and Alison Krauss may put out good music, but they are never going to grow country music.  They're never going to be able to draw in new listeners.  They'll please the base, but for country to continue to thrive, they need to bring in "swing voters, moderates, and independents", and if Taylor has cross-over appeal, then all the better.  (And I'm pretty sure I heard Sugarland singing with Bon Jovi on the "pop" station a few years back). 

A person has to have a gateway into country music, so why not have a face of the industry who has mass appeal.  A new commer has to find someone that they like, someone that they love, to enter a new genre of music.  Then they start branching out and getting into the niches of country music. 

Taylor Swift appeals to the next generation of country music listeners, and is following in a trend toward "pop-ified" country (Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Leanne Rhymes).  The thing I like about country (and rock for that matter) is that it is fairly "big-tent".  You have your pop country (Taylor, Carrie, etc.), you have your standards (George, Garth, Reba, etc.), you have your outlaws (Jamie Johnson, Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, etc.), and everything in between.  What I like about Taylor Swift is that she has busted her ass from a young age to become as successful as she is.  She writes her own music, sings her own songs, and plays her music, and is pulling young people to country music.

While Taylor's not even in my top 10 of favorite country music stars currently on the radio, I see her success as being good for the industry.  She is a good role model for young women, and I see her grabbing a chunk of the young generation and bringing them to country music.  And she's doing it with class, hard work, and without being "slutty".  


Unattractive (to me), yet successful female country stars:  Wynonna Judd (and/or The Judds), The Dixie Chicks, Mary Chappin Carpenter, Allison Krauss, Terri Clark, Gretchen Wilson, Jennifer Nettles


My reasons for disliking Jennifer Nettles are as follows:
  • I hate the way she enunciates when she sings.  And her accent is so bizarre.  She just puts me off.
  • In my mind's eye, she is the female version of Kenny Chesney.
  • She's average looking at best.
  • I hate her facial expressions when watching her sing live
  • I hate how they are considered a duo when the guy never sings.
  • They only made it big when they dropped the less attractive fiddle player (coincidence, I think not).
  • They tried to make Bon Jovi relevant again.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How to write an unfunny, illogical commentary on an uterly trivial subject.

Today, when I opened my MSN messenger, I was greeted with the daily pop-up box that highlights a handful of news stories and articles that can be found within the MSN/MSNBC pages.  One story looked interesting.

It was an article that dealt with women taking their husband's last name after marriage, which is a topic my wife and I discussed before our nuptials.  At the time, I made it clear to her that it was her decision to make and I would support her however she decided to proceed.  Ultimately, she decided to take my surname, and her maiden name became her middle name.  So I was interested to see what this columnist, Faith Salie (who we're told is "a writer, actor and humorist who contributes to O, The Oprah Magazine's ethics column. She is a television commentator and a former public radio host.") had to say on the topic.  It was titled "Will You Take His Name?" and I thought it might be an interesting read.  I was disappointed, to say the least.

A couple of paragraphs into the article, Faith tells us that:

I am freshly gobsmacked every single Sunday morning when I see that about half the women — mostly under 35, all women with careers, all women who chose to submit their announcement to the putatively liberal New York Times — are electing to give up their identity.

You mean, nearly 10 years into the 21st Century, women are given a choice on what to do with their last name upon getting married?  And, if Faith's stats are correct, about half of them have chosen to take their husband's name?  And they proudly proclaim this fact to the New York Times?  Oh, the humanity.

Also, if these women who are "giving up their identities" bother you so much, why in the hell do you keep looking at the wedding section?  Be an adult and avert your eyes.  But that would be too easy, and then what would this "humorist" bitch and moan about?

She continues:

What would Lucy Stone say? She was a 19th-century suffragist who was the first American woman to revert to her birth name after marriage. She even had to chastise one Susan B. Anthony by writing to Suze, "A wife should no more take her husband's name than he should hers." Stone's followers — women who refused to change their names upon marriage — were called Stoners.

I would hope that Lucy Stone would be proud that her efforts had lead to a shift in cultural norms where it was possible for a woman to choose what her last name was, even if that meant making the choice to take her husband's name.  Ms. Salie thinks otherwise.

Today only about 20 percent of American women are Stoners. In other words, 80 percent of women change their identities — I mean, names — upon getting married.

It makes me wish we were a more progressive country like … Iran. Yes, Iran, where Muslim women keep their names for life. So must women, by law, keep their names in Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Chile, Malaysia, Korea … I could go on, but I really like the way they do it in Spain.

Ah, good old Iran.  That good ol' bastion for "woman's rights".  Yes, let's throw out that useless Constitution, install religious imams and a puppet government that enforces their every whim.  And lets be really "progressive" and pass a law, making it illegal to take your husband's last name once married, even if that is what you want to do.  I have a hard time believing that Ms. Salie would support a law that forced every woman to take their husband's last name (since that is what a super-majority of women already do, according to her statistics).  This is what passes for "feminist" thought these days?  I thought this was the camp that was in favor of "free choice".  Wow.

So, Ms. Salie, please enlighten us to the ways that the Spaniards are superior to us in this regard.

There, people have two surnames — their father's and their mother's. When they have a child, she receives the first surname from the father and the second surname is the first surname of the mother, and the parents choose whether the father's or the mother's surname goes first, although this order must be the same for all their children.

If that was a bit confusing, it's just because they use the metric system.

Wow, that really is progressive and unique.  But what do Spanish women do when they get married?  Do they keep their last name or take their husbands?  While Faith doesn't really tell us, for the sake of taking this method to it's logical end, let's assume that wives keep their name, and see where it takes us if we were to use this method in the States.

Jim Smith marries Julie Jones.  They have a son Tim, who is now Tim Smith-Jones (whoops, that was extremely prejudiced of me to assume that the husband's name would go first.  Oh well, I'm sure Ms. Salie is feverishly writing a law to ensure that doesn't happen).  Well, little Timmy Smith-Jones grows up and marries Susie Garcia-Powell.  They have a daughter, who they name Maria.  Is her name now Maria Smith-Jones Garcia-Powell?  If so, what happens when she marries Larry Franklin-Washington Hamilton-Coolidge, and together they have a son?  Is his name now Fred Smith-Jones Garcia-Powell Franklin-Washington Hamilton-Coolidge?  Hmmmm, logic is hard.  Now I see why Ms. Salie avoided using any in her article.

She continues:

Names are our identity. They matter. Think about it: What does the Witness Protection Program do when they want you to disappear? They make you keep your first name and change your last name. When someone illegally assumes someone else's name, we say an identity's been stolen; when someone legally assumes someone else's name, we say … you're married.
And?  Maybe it's my conservative, white-male biased coming through, but how is this a problem?  Is it the institution of marriage that she has a problem with?  Is it the fact that women are legally given the option to change their name that is causing her this turmoil?

So her argument so far boils down to women who change their name after getting married have forever lost their identity, in the same way that occurs when one enters Federal Protection or is a victim of identity theft, and since a bunch of Europeans and Iranians do it differently, it proves our un-progressiveness.  Well, I'm convinced.

Let's cut through the most platitudinous argument: "A family shares a name." Um, nuh-uh.

Um, yeah-huh.  According to your own statistics, 80% of families share a name.  Maybe what you meant to write is something along these lines, "A family's identity can be established with their sharing a name".  In which case, I would agree with you.  That might be one indicator, but it's not the definition.  But that's not what you said, and probably not what you meant. 

Did your grandmother have the same last name as you? Was she still your Nana?

Well, yes, my paternal grandmother had the same last name as me.  But my maternal grandmother had a different last name.  And, yes, both were still my grandmother, regardless of their names.  But how would you remedy this problem, Ms. Salie?  The only way I can figure is to rid the population of surnames.  Then everyone could form a large circle and sing "Kumbaya".  We'd all be one big family.

Conversely, does having the same last name mean you'll always stay a family? Ask the Gibsons or the McCartneys or the McGreeveys or …

So, because people get divorced, we should abandon surnames?  What a twisted web of anti logic you have created Faith.  As we enter the last stanza of Faith's list of complaints, I'm hoping that she decided to throw out a solution to fix all of the problems she sees with women taking their husband's last name.

What's in a name? You tell me …
  • Would you want to lay down seven grand to buy a wedding dress from Vera Becker? (Vera Wang?)
  • How about listen to a song from Mariah Cannon, Jennifer Anthony or Barbra Brolin? (Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Barbra Streisand)
  • Netflix an old film with Elizabeth Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Warner Fortensky? (Elizabeth Taylor)
  • Or get your nightly news from Katie Monahan? (Katie Couric)
  • Gloria Bale needs her surname like a fish needs a Steinem. (Gloria Steinem)
  • And does the name Sonia Noonan suggest an "extraordinary journey"? (Sonia Sotomayor)

My answers to her (presumably) rhetorical questions:  1) No, she doesn't make dresses in my size.  2) Yes, if I enjoyed the songs enough.  3) No, I'm not a fan of "classic" films.  4) No, I don't watch nightly news, no matter who is the anchor.  5) I don't get it.  6) Neither name suggests anything to me, but I highly doubt Sotomayor's name will affect her performance as a Justice anymore than it affects the other eight.  And still no solutions to this perceived problem.  She ends with this postscript: 

By the way, my wedding announcement was in The New York Times. When I submitted it, I wrote, "The groom is keeping his name." The Times did not publish that sentence. I guess they thought it was a typo.

No, I'd guess that they didn't couldn't figure out how to fit your soapbox within the margins.  And good for you, you've proven to us all that you are a rebel.  A rebel without a cause.

People like Faith Salie annoy me to no end.  They can't help but meddle in other people's lives.  She can't be proud of the achievements of the woman's suffrage movement.  She apparently lacks the understanding that in a free society people are going to make choices that run against her ideology.  Rather than bitching about such trivial subjects as surnames, she could use her unique platform to point out the injustice of arranged marriages or sex slavery or other gender-based rights and freedoms issues (especially in such "progressive" places such as Iran, and it's Middle East neighbors).  But no, that would take effort.  Or, I'd have even accepted a well thought out solution to this perceived problem, but again, that takes work. 

The subheadline of this article says "Writer, actor and humorist Faith Salie talks about why some women change their last names when they get married, and what the impact can be."  Obviously the headline writer did not read the article, because Faith does none of these things.  She says nothing about why women do it, just makes the observation that they do, and rattles off all the reasons why their doing so bothers her.  And she doesn't even touch the subject of what the "impact can be".  She does not refer to any psychologists, or anthropologists, or even any advice columnists.  She can't even fit in an anecdote or two from women who have changed their name or women who have not.

How this passes as quality commentary is beyond me.  A true "feminist" would be ashamed.  And what it lacks in thoughtfulness, it's even more lacking in humor/satire, which I'm sure was Ms. Salie's main goal.  There are only a couple of lines that I can assume were meant to be humorous, and those went over like a lead balloon.  If Ms. Salie was angling to write an edgy, satirical piece that pokes holes into the custom of wives taking their husbands' name, I'm still waiting for the punchline. 

Great news in Fowler

It appears that the Colorado Legislature has approved "chumming" the waters during hippie punching season, and I couldn't be happier.  There is nothing more deflating than spending the day in a tree stand waiting for a hippie to arrive so I can punch them in the face.

According to this news account, I won't have to worry about a lack of hippies during my next trip to my home town.

Tuesday, at 11:00 a.m., a news conference, with Sierra Club in Fowler's Gerard Park, will celebrate Mayor Ray Ward's commitment to reduce the town's global warming pollution by putting into place local energy solutions which save taxpayer dollars and reduce energy use.

The Sierra Club praised Mayor Ward for signing on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, joining other mayors nationwide who are taking real action to re-energize their communities with proven innovative local energy solutions such as cleaner car fleets, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
"Mayor Ward and Fowler's City officials are to be commended for their leadership in curbing the city's global warming pollution," said Jenny Kedward, Chair of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Sierra Club. "But if Fowler is going to be a "cool" city and meet its new pollution reduction goals by 2012, Fowler will need to expand existing energy and taxpayer-saving solutions to include making buildings more energy efficient and investing in renewable energy."

Today's news conference is part of the Sierra Club's national "Cool Cities" campaign to encourage cities to take action to solve global warming one city at a time.

The Sierra Club has released a new guide, "Cool Cities: Solving Global Warming One City at a Time." a resource for citizens and local officials who are ready to take action to reduce energy waste and heat-trapping global warming pollution. The guide is available online at sierraclub.org/coolcities.

I'm going to assume that the "Sierra Club" is a front for some hippie punching coalition, and I'm going to make a monetary donation to their cause as a thanks for increasing the hippie population in my hometown.

I'm also going to commend Mayor Ray "Bushy" Ward for his innovative leadership.  In these times of economic unease, it is comforting to know that there are leaders in this country finding new ways to quench their citizenry's need for hippie-face punching.  Well done, sir.


(Thanks to Friar Tuck for pointing this story out.  And thanks to Frank J. for introducing me to the great sport of Hippie-Face Punching).

Friday, November 6, 2009

Movember -- Week 1



Week one of Movember is in the books, and I can't say I'm not surprised with the result.  But, I'm off to a better start than a couple of years ago, so I've got that going for me.

I've received $125.00 in donations so far, which is amazing.  My goal is to raise $200, so if you would like to donate toward prostate cancer and testicular cancer research, please go to my page to do so:  http://www.movember.com/m/138927 

Team Morthern Colorado is 27 members strong and growing.  If you would care to join our group, please go here to do so.  As a group we've raised $240.00.  

We have also started a Facebook group, where other members of our team have started posting pictures of our Mo growth.  If you are on Facebook, search our team name, Morthern Colorado, to find our group, and please join in the conversation to change the face of men's health.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Scavenger Hunt Item #22

"A Silhouette"



"Clocktower" UNO Campus, Omaha, NE, 2009

(Photography Scavenger Hunt Item List)

Scavenger Hunt Item #11

"A Body of Water"



"Pacific Ocean" San Diego, CA, 2009

(Photography Scavenger Hunt Item List)

Scavenger Hunt Item #20

"Something in Motion"



"Fetch" Omaha, NE, 2009

(Photography Scavenger Hunt Item List)

Scavenger Hunt Item #2

"A Sign of the Season"



"Spring" Omaha, NE, 2009

Scavenger Hunt Item #25

"Flowers"



"Flowers" Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Scavenger Hunt Item #19

"An Interesting Sky"



"Cloud Dog" Omaha, NE 2009

(Photography Scavenger Hunt Item List)

Scavenger Hunt Item #18

"A Statue"



"Gargoyle" Omaha, NE, 2009

(Photography Scavenger Hunt Item List)

Scavenger Hunt Item #8

"A Reflection"



"Sideview Mirror Dog" Omaha, NE, 2008



"Scooter Mirror"  Estes Park, CO, 2009

(Photo Scavenger Hunt Item List)

Scavenger Hunt Item #6

"A Landscape"

I took this picture while on a scooter in Estes Park, CO, in 2009.  I was snapping off pics while I drove along and when I turned on the camera the built in lens covers didn't open fully, resulting in this nifty pic of the Rocky Mountains.


Scavenger Hunt Item #17

"A Church"

I couldn't decide between these two, so I'm posting both.






Both are of St. Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, NE, 2009

Scavenger Hunt Item #1

"Cool or Interesting Architecture"



"Twin Houses" Omaha, Ne, 2009

Scavenger Hunt

My sister posted a photography scavenger hunt that she found online onto her blog, so I thought I'd play along.

Here is the list she posted:

1. Cool or interesting architecture
2. A sign of the season
3. Something musical
4. Something sweet
5. Something metallic
6. A landscape
7. An interesting doorway
8. A reflection
9. A cemetery
10. A pair of shoes
11. A body of water
12. A drink
13. A mosaic or mural
14. Rain or snow
15. Classic car (1970 or older)
16. A work of art
17. A church
18. A statue
19. An interesting sky
20. Something in motion
21. Lights at night
22. A silhouette
23. Something historical (pre-1900)
24. A shot from an unusual perspective
25. Flowers
26. Self-Portrait

I'm going to dig through my photograph archives and will post them as I find them.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why old dogs are the best dogs.

I was tipped off to this article on Andrew Sullivan's blog the other day and have been meaning to post about it.  It was written by The Washington Post's Gene Weingarten, and is, in essence, a defense of old dogs.

And I barely made it through the thing without crying.

It starts off with a doozy of an opening paragraph:

Not long before his death, Harry and I headed out for a walk that proved eventful. He was nearly 13, old for a big dog. Walks were no longer the slap-happy Iditarods of his youth, frenzies of purposeless pulling in which we would cast madly off in all directions, fighting for command. Nor were they the exuberant archaeological expeditions of his middle years, when every other tree or hydrant or blade of grass held tantalizing secrets about his neighbors. In his old age, Harry had transformed his walk into a simple process of elimination—a dutiful, utilitarian, head-down trudge. When finished, he would shuffle home to his ratty old bed, which graced our living room because Harry could no longer ascend the stairs. On these walks, Harry seemed oblivious to his surroundings, absorbed in the arduous responsibility of placing foot before foot before foot before foot. But this time, on the edge of a small urban park, he stopped to watch something. A man was throwing a Frisbee to his dog. The dog, about Harry’s size, was tracking the flight expertly, as Harry had once done, anticipating hooks and slices by watching the pitch and roll and yaw of the disc, as Harry had done, then catching it with a joyful, punctuating leap, as Harry had once done, too.

Harry sat. For 10 minutes, he watched the fling and catch, fling and catch, his face contented, his eyes alight, his tail a-twitch. Our walk home was almost … jaunty.

Rereading it, I still get choked up thinking about how our lives will change once Brodie gets out of his middle years and heads down the home stretch.  He's already lost a bit of his youthful energy, and his muzzle is starting to gray.  His pace going up the stairs in the house is not what it once was.  And his gas is much, much more toxic than when he was a younger lad.  It is hard to imagine not being able to take him to the lake, or to the park to repeatedly retrieve his Kong toy, or how we'd ever get his 90 lb. body into the car should his hips give out.

But reading such skillfully worded stories of people who have lived with dogs for years and years (which I have not), and the wisdom they've gained from being around these K-9s helps me to remember to cherish the time we do have with Brodie.

As Mr. Weingarten points out,

What dogs do not have is an abstract sense of fear, or a feeling of injustice or entitlement. They do not see themselves, as we do, as tragic heroes, battling ceaselessly against the merciless onslaught of time. Unlike us, old dogs lack the audacity to mythologize their lives. You’ve got to love them for that.

And,

In our dogs, we see ourselves. Dogs exhibit almost all of our emotions; if you think a dog cannot register envy or pity or pride or melancholia, you have never lived with one for any length of time. What dogs lack is our ability to dissimulate. They wear their emotions nakedly, and so, in watching them, we see ourselves as we would be if we were stripped of posture and pretense. Their innocence is enormously appealing. When we watch a dog progress from puppy­hood to old age, we are watching our own lives in microcosm. Our dogs become old, frail, crotchety, and vulnerable, just as Grandma did, just as we surely will, come the day. When we grieve for them, we grieve for ourselves.

So I will work harder not to look to the future fearfully or timidly, whether it is about the day we no longer have Brodie, or what we will do once the wife is done with law school, or any other worry that I have.  But instead, I shall strive to live each day as Brodie does, happy to see the ones I love, excited for each meal that is in front of me, glad to get some fresh air and stretch my legs outside, and spending each night hogging as much of the bed from my wife as I can.

Mr. Weingarten's stories about his much loved dog Harry S Truman are stories that most dog owners experience once or twice throughout the years.  I highly encourage you to read the entire story, as it is very well written.

And do yourself a favor, and hug your dog tonight.

"It's supposed to be a moral puzzle."

"Solved it."



And here is my favorite of the E*Trade "Talking Baby" series of commercials, you Shankapotomuses.



And, finally, who can resist David vs. Goliath, the dog version?